Christmas week seems likely to end with a whimper from a news angle, if not from the business of exchanging Christmas presents and fixing stuff already broken.
Some odds and ends:
* HAPPY 89TH TO FRANK BROYLES
: Durango noted last night that Dec. 26 was retired Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles
89th birthday. Breezing through Twitter this morning, I saw a birthday greeting to Broyles from Kevin Trainor at UA and a photo. Looking good.
* YOU CAN'T BE TOO PREPARED:
Ever heard of Higginson, Ark.
? It's a town of about 650 people in White County, down south of Searcy. It made news on KTHV yesterday
with some military surplus purchases — two humvees and a combat dump truck. The mayor explained they won't be in regular use, but could he helpful because of their road clearance when floods hit the low-lying town.
* SIGNING UP FOR HEALTH INSURANCE: Amy Webb at Arkansas Human Services
provided the numbers, as of Dec. 21, on signups for the Arkansas version of President Obama's health coverage expansion legislation:
62,148 have completed enrollment. This number includes both people who have completed the process on their own and those who have been auto-assigned a plan.
93,534 people have filed applications for the private option.
Of those, 74,107 have been determined eligible for the private option so far.
22,652 people have completed the health screener. Of those, 5,930 have been determined to be better served by traditional Medicaid.
* PIVOTAL ARKANSAS ELECTIONS IN 2014
: Jay Barth, writing in the Arkansas Times this week
, focuses on some lesser elected offices that will have big meaning in 2014 — the races for the seven statewide offices. The party that wins the majority of those seats holds the majority on county election commissions. These are not strictly ministerial bodies, but can have key roles in polling places and early voting. They are, thus, prime tools for depressing turnout, particularly among poor people who appreciate the broadest possible access to early voting because finding time on a Tuesday workday to vote can be difficult. Not pointing fingers, mind you. You'd have to give the edge to the Republican Party to achieve a majority in this election. A critical race is secretary of state, where the thoroughly professional and competent Susan Inman, a Democrat, will challenge the secretive, bumbling, law-breaking Republican incumbent. He, however, has the same name as a famous race car driver and that might be enough.
* AT LEAST 2013 IS JUST ABOUT OVER:
Speaking of the latest edition of the Arkansas Times
…. It will be going out today. It's our Best and Worst issue,
in the capable hands of David Koon. What kind of year was it?
Up for your consideration this year: suicidal Sookie fans, why Boston hates Nate Bell, the black gold eruption in Mayflower pays off for some enterprising paintballers, a state treasurer gets her hand caught in the pie box, a dog bites more than the hand that fed him, Radio Shack pissery in Paragould, a volunteer pimp, a visit from Gangsta Claus in Magnolia, and a strong candidate for the most inopportune cellphone butt dial in the history of the technology. It's all here, friends. Read it and weep before striding boldly into 2014.
Also in the Times this week, I write about liars and cheats
and Mark Darr
) and Ernie Dumas makes the case
for both Mark Darr's resignation as lieutenant governor and abolition of the office.